“I am very pleased to announce this year’s licensing round for mature areas. Exploration activity and access to areas constitute the very basis for petroleum activity on the Norwegian continental shelf. The results of previous APA rounds show that the scheme is highly important and that it has generated very substantial values for Norwegian society,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe.
In the APA 2013 round, the predefined area has been expanded by six blocks. All of the blocks are located in the Norwegian Sea, close to Aasta Hansteen. The expansion is in line with the management plan for the Norwegian Sea.
“It is important that the industry is given an opportunity to explore the areas surrounding new developments. The expansion will ensure that any additional resources located around Aasta Hansteen can be exploited in a timely and optimal manner,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe.
The application deadline is 12:00 on Wednesday 11 September 2013.
A complete announcement text, an updated map of the announced blocks, environmental and fisheries conditions and further information are available on the website of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
Map APA 2013 announcement
Awards in Predefined Areas is the annual licensing round for geologically mature areas. The scheme was introduced in 2003, and the area can be expanded, but not reduced, within the framework established for the area in management plans. While the numbered licensing rounds relate to immature areas, the APA scheme ensures the exploration of mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. The scheme makes an important contribution to continued activity and production on the continental shelf.
The criteria for mature areas are laid out in the white paper An industry for the future – Norway’s petroleum activities (Meld. St. 28 (2010–2011) Report to the Storting). The following criteria have been applied in expanding the APA area:
- Areas close to infrastructure. This includes both existing and planned infrastructure. Potential resources in the areas are regarded as time-critical.
- Areas with an exploration history. This includes areas that have previously been awarded and relinquished, areas with known play models and areas situated between awarded and relinquished areas.
- Areas that border on existing predefined areas, but that have not been applied for in numbered licensing rounds.
In the white paper, the Government stated that it would:
- Carry out the APA scheme as an annual licensing round for all mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf to help to maintain activity and production.
- Within the framework of the management plans, use technical petroleum assessments as a basis for which areas are included in the APA area.
- Introduce public consultation in connection with APA rounds. For areas with a management plan, only input regarding new, significant information that has come to light after the relevant management plan was approved is requested.
The management plans are the Government’s instrument for managing marine areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. The purpose of the management plans is to facilitate value creation through the sustainable utilisation of resources and ecosystem services in the waters while also maintaining the ecosystems’ structure, function, productivity and biological diversity. The plans are based on numerous, detailed base studies, and are the product of a thorough process that weighs up competing interests. Therefore, in the case of marine areas covered by a management plan, the plan establishes the framework for where and on what terms petroleum activity may be pursued. Proposals for the announcement of areas in an APA round will therefore comply with the framework established by the management plans for the area.